Ever since high-quality masticating juicers became commercially available, there are a bunch of sources claiming that this type of juicer is simply better than the traditional centrifugal juicer. But is there any truth to that? As always, the answer is too complicated for a yes/no answer. So let’s dive in and see how centrifugal and masticating juicers compare.
Differences in a Nutshell
The two types of juicers are completely different: you can know which is which with just a glance. The entire mechanism and the ways they extract juice are nothing alike. Here, I’ll cover only the basics, so if you’re curious to read about the differences between masticating and centrifugal juicers in more detail, just follow the link!
1. The Mechanisms
Though they belong to the same category of juicers, the centrifugal and masticating juicers have very little in common in terms of construction and mechanism.
Centrifugal juicers spin very quickly (reaching anywhere between 3 000 and 10 000 rotations per minute), and use the rotational, “centrifugal” power combined with a mesh material to get juices from produce. This super high speed gives the juice from centrifugal juicers the recognizable foam on the top.
Did you know that masticating means chewing? And that’s just what masticating juicers do: there’s a slowly spinning auger that crushes and squeezes your fruits and veggies. During and after that process, the juice is filtered through a mesh. In fact, the masticating juicer does this so well that it usually gives a significantly drier pulp compared to centrifugal models, making the most out of each and every piece of produce.
2. Speed and Noise
I already mentioned that masticating juicers are slower than centrifugal, but that doesn’t even begin to cover it. There’s no better way to describe it than raw numbers: Centrifugal juicers spin at the maximum of around 10 000 rpm, while fastest masticating juicers spin a mere 100 rotations per minute. Yes, they’re THAT slow. In fact, masticating juicers are also called slow juicers or cold-press juicers.
Because of this dramatic difference in rotation speed, centrifugal juicers are way louder than masticating ones. Of course, they’re not construction site loud, but they are quite unpleasant to hear in the morning. On the other hand, masticating juicers are almost unnoticeable sound-wise.
However, I have to jump back to speed: even though centrifugal juicers are louder, they are also much faster. A general estimate is that you need approximately twice as much time to process the same amount of fruits and veggies in a masticating juicer compared to a centrifugal one.
It is what it is – when picking a juicer, you have to choose what bothers you less: noise or waiting.
3. Plants and Juice Yield
You can’t juice any piece of fruit in any kind of juicer. The differing mechanisms are simply more or less suited for a particular kind of plant.
If you’re a lover of apples, carrots, beets, and similar hard produce, a centrifugal juicer is the way to go. This type of juicer can make a divine glass of pure juice completely pulp-free.
However, you can’t really get a good glass of juice out of soft fruits like berries or the non-juicy, leafy greens. Berries can’t be processed that well in centrifugal juicers, and they often leave behind a lot of juice-filled pulp that couldn’t be squeezed, so you need a lot of produce for a minimal juice yield. Masticating juicers, like juicers for wheatgrass, crush produce and then squeeze it, giving you a high juice yield out of the fibrous berries.
On the other hand, leafy greens are not juicy, and you can only extract juice out of them by pulverizing the plant – which is exactly what a masticating juicer does.
3.1. Do centrifugal juicers destroy nutrients?
Now let me just address one wide-spread misconception. There’s a rumor going around that centrifugal juicers destroy nutrients by heating up when spinning. This is a gross oversimplification, and there’s no reason for a regular person to bite their nails about it.
While there is truth to the idea that heat can destroy enzymes, most domestic-use centrifugal juicers can’t even come close to creating enough heat to render your juice nutritionless. Don’t get me wrong -there might be a minor loss of enzymes, especially if your particular model tends to heat up a lot, you use it at max speed, or you need to keep it running for a long time. Let’s say it loud and clear: There are always some losses of nutritional value in juicing. If you want to get maximum nutrients from your fruits and veggies, you shouldn’t be juicing your produce at all.
4. Juice Shelf Life
There are few things worse than the bland taste of a brown apple juice that waited out in a glass for too long. This dramatic loss of quality and taste happens because of oxidation. While this a natural, unavoidable process, masticating juicers have a definitive upper hand here.
In fact, juice coming from a centrifugal juicer will turn brown in a matter of hours, making it necessary to make fresh juice whenever you feel like having some. On the other hand, masticating juicers give you juice that didn’t get oxidized as much. In practice, that means that you can store your juice in the fridge (in a closed jar) for as much as 3 days with no significant taste, smell, or nutrition losses.
A Centrifugal Juicer Is Better If…
|Commitment||You don’t want to commit to juicing as a lifestyle choice|
|Budget||You have a small budget or don’t want to invest much|
|Speed/Noise||You value speed over the quiet operation|
|Produce||You want to make juice out of apples, carrots, beets, and other hard fruit|
|Juice Quality||You don’t mind a little foam in your tasty and nutritious juice|
|Juice Storage||You’d prefer to quickly make a glass juice when you feel like drinking one|
A Masticating Juicer Is Better If…
|Commitment||You’re serious about implementing cold-pressed juice into your diet and lifestyle|
|Budget||You’re ready to invest a bit more upfront|
|Speed/Noise||You can’t stand noisy machines but don’t mind waiting a bit longer|
|Produce||You want to make juice out of leafy greens like spinach and wheatgrass, or soft fruit like strawberries and blackberries|
|Juice Quality||You care about getting the highest quality juice possible out of each piece of produce|
|Juice Storage||You’d prefer to prepare juice a couple of days in advance and store it in the fridge|
All in All
Making juice out of fresh fruits and veggies is an amazing, tasty way to consume your daily dose of nutrients. If getting your apple a day to keep the doctor away has proven difficult, a juicer might be just the thing to help get you back on track – and even make you consume more fruits and vegetables than you ever could eat on your own. A juicer is a necessary tool that will make this possible.
However, there’s no short or simple answer to the question of which juicer is better – centrifugal or masticating. The two types of machines are so thoroughly different, and even though they give you the same type of product, they aren’t that easy to compare. The truth is that you’ll either enjoy juicing or you won’t stick to it – and the kind of juicer you have won’t change that. Still, it’s worth it to try to make the pick that truly suits you, your body, and your habits. It will make life that much tastier!
Bonus article: Vitamix 5200 vs Vitamix 5300